, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 1639–1663

Measuring the match between evaluators and evaluees: cognitive distances between panel members and research groups at the journal level

  • A. I. M. Jakaria Rahman
  • Raf Guns
  • Loet Leydesdorff
  • Tim C. E. Engels


When research groups are evaluated by an expert panel, it is an open question how one can determine the match between panel and research groups. In this paper, we outline two quantitative approaches that determine the cognitive distance between evaluators and evaluees, based on the journals they have published in. We use example data from four research evaluations carried out between 2009 and 2014 at the University of Antwerp.

While the barycenter approach is based on a journal map, the similarity-adapted publication vector (SAPV) approach is based on the full journal similarity matrix. Both approaches determine an entity’s profile based on the journals in which it has published. Subsequently, we determine the Euclidean distance between the barycenter or SAPV profiles of two entities as an indicator of the cognitive distance between them. Using a bootstrapping approach, we determine confidence intervals for these distances. As such, the present article constitutes a refinement of a previous proposal that operates on the level of Web of Science subject categories.


Research evaluation Barycenter Similarity-adapted publication vector Journal overlay map Matching research expertise Similarity matrix 

Supplementary material

11192_2016_2132_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 2496 kb)

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research and Development Monitoring (ECOOM), Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  2. 2.Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Antwerp Maritime AcademyAntwerpBelgium

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